Olivia, MN: Renville County Attorney Kelsie Kingstrom announced on Friday that on Monday, February 27, 2023, Bradley James Westphal, 38, of Olivia, pled guilty to Murder in the Third Degree for the death of Connie Marie Havens, 56, of Olivia.
In the early morning hours of July 19, 2021, law enforcement responded to Mr. Westphal’s residence for a report of an unresponsive female who was transported to the hospital and later died. Ms. Havens and her daughter had arrived at the residence late the previous day when Mr. Westphal provided Ms. Havens with what he claimed to be Percocet. According to toxicology reports, the substance was actually fentanyl.
In initial statements to law enforcement, Mr. Westphal stated that Ms. Havens had brought the pills to the residence herself. However, at the plea hearing, Mr. Westphal admitted to providing the pills to Ms. Havens.
The investigation determined that while Ms. Havens was struggling to breath, Mr. Westphal failed to call 911 and started removing drugs and drug paraphernalia from the residence. Law enforcement officers recovered the drugs and drug paraphernalia from a vehicle stored on Mr. Westphal’s property. Evidence obtained during the course of the investigation established that Mr. Westphal was calling various other individuals and sending Facebook messages prior to attempting to contact 911.
Ms. Havens is survived by her 10 children. The entire Renville County team who investigated and prosecuted this case extend their deepest condolences to the surviving family members, and hopes that this plea and admission of guilt aids in their healing.
County Attorney Kingstrom credits the entirety of the investigation to both the Renville County Sheriff’s Office and the Olivia Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Derek Archambault and Andrew LeFevour from the Eckberg Lammers firm in Stillwater, MN.
Mr. Westphal will be sentenced on May 23, 2023 at 1:30 p.m. at the Renville County Courthouse in Olivia. Mr. Westphal is facing a prison sentence.
County Attorney Kingstrom noted, “Fentanyl is a Schedule II substance that is 80-200 times more potent as morphine. Fentanyl is extremely dangerous and is often being sold under the guise of other substances such as Percocet or Adderall. It is extremely imperative that residents be aware of this nation-wide issue and only take medications as prescribed.”